Plokštinė was an underground missile base of the Soviet Union. This is the first nuclear missile base of the Soviet Union, an underground R-12 Dvinaballistic medium-range missile base. In 2012, the Cold War Museum was opened at the site.

At the time when the United States started building underground military bases, it was decided that the Soviet Union had to maintain its military advantage. Therefore, in September 1960, the Soviets started rapid construction of an underground military base, one of the first in the Soviet Union, near the village of Plokščiai. The chosen location was 160 metres above sea level and it could cover all of Europe, including Turkey and southern European countries. In 1960, more than 10,000 Soviet soldiers started secret works in the Žemaitija National Park that took two years. The costs of construction were comparable to the costs of building a city district or a small town.

The base was one of the top Soviet military secrets that was revealed by U.S. reconnaissance only in 1978. The base boasted of a network of tunnels and included four deep shafts that have a depth between 27 to 34 meters. They were covered by the concrete domes that could be moved aside on rails in 30 minutes. The base could stay autonomous for 15 days, or for 3 hours if also hermetically sealed. The surrounding electric fence was normally connected to 220 V, with a possibility to raise the voltage to 1700 in case of alert. The active team consisted of about 300 people, most of them military guards.

The base included four silos that housed R-12 Dvina missiles with nuclear warheads. These missiles were propelled using a medium-range liquid. They weighed more than 40 tones, including 1,500-kilogram warhead. These surface-to-surface missiles had a radius of a little less than 2,500 kilometres. No missiles, even for tests, were launched from the base.

After twelve years of operations, the site was shut down. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the site has been abandoned and not maintained. It has been visited by urban explorers, also suffered from numerous metal thefts. After the reconstruction in 2012, the former base site now hosts the Cold War Museum, opening one of the four existing silos for visitors.

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User Reviews

Niels Commandeur (4 years ago)
This was my second time to the cold war museum and it was as interesting as the first time. You can visit the entire launching place. The exposition is very interesting and unique. I could recommend anyone interested in the cold war era to visit this museum. I'm sure I'm going there another time in the near future.
Kotryna Karyznaite (4 years ago)
It’s a breathtaking place to visit! Nicely renovated space, cool expositions, informative and brief guide. Truly worth seeing
Stefan verduyn (4 years ago)
Even though some of the stuff has been taken out the bunker you can still feel the USSR presence in the bunker. Very nice museum to go to and a must see for all tourists. Handy audioguide in English as well as in russian. There is the possibility to guide yourself or go with a guide. Very friendly staff as well.
Michiel Durante (4 years ago)
Interesting and, despite much of the controls and electronics have been stripped away, a very impressive piece of cold war history On a site, not larger than 50 x 70 meter, hidden in a beautiful landscape, the USSR built it's first secret nuclear launch site, with 4 rocket silos and all the necessary equipment, underground. After years of derelict it has now been turned into a museum, and you can get really into the belly of the beast, walking around the launch tube. Although most of the original equipment was removed, you get a good feel of what it was like in and on that base.
Tadas Masnauskas (4 years ago)
A very interesting place to visit. You can definitely feel the cold war era there. The museum consists of four missile silos each 30 meters deep (though can only visit one) and a bunker. The bunker was a command centre with all the necessary utilities in order to launch a nuclear missile. The exhibits in the museum are interesting and the guide was wonderful too.
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